A reliance on food stamps is likely the last thing people expect to see in a corporation’s filing with the Security and Exchange Commission.
But the same company that can sell jeans for $9.99 also depends on people using government assistance to keep its margins up and its shareholders happy.
In its most recent annual SEC filing, Wal-Mart explained some factors that could hurt its bottom line, specifically changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or food stamps) and other assistance programs.
“Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control,” Wal-Mart’s 10-K reads. “Any one, or a combination, of these risks, factors and uncertainties could materially affect our financial performance, our results of operations, including our sales, earnings per share or comparable store sales or comparable club sales and effective tax rate for any period, our business operations, business strategy, plans, goals or objectives.”
Among those risks, the form explains are “changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.”
According to the International Business Times, this is the first time Wal-Mart has admitted its reliance on public assistance programs as a major factor in its profit margin in its SEC filings.
It is not the first time, however, the company has spoken about food stamps. In January, Wal-Mart said that the expiration of the stimulus boost to SNAP benefits in November hurt its profits last quarter.
Also, the mega-store actually misprinted the name of the program, which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, not the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan.